Facebook planning TikTok competitor 'Instagram Reels'

NEW YORK -- Facebook is planning to launch a short-form video feature on Instagram in early August, increasing competition with TikTok, according to reports.Developers are joining the race to create a quality TikTok alternative, TechCrunch reported, as U.S. officials consider a ban on the app and influencers leave the platform due to security concerns.The outlet reported that Facebook, which has more than 2.5 billion uses worldwide, launched Reels in Brazil in November, in France and Germany last month and in India last week after the country banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese-owned apps amid tensions between the two countries.“The community in our test countries has shown so much creativity in short-form video, and we’ve heard from creators and people around the world that they’re eager to get started as well,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.Reels will launch in the U.S. and more than 50 other countries, NBC News reported.

Facebook groups pivot to attacks on Black Lives Matter

CHICAGO — A loose network of Facebook groups that took root across the country in April to organize protests over coronavirus stay-at-home orders has become a hub of misinformation and conspiracy theories that have pivoted to a variety of new targets.

Starbucks latest to say it will pause social media ads

SEATTLE -- Starbucks is the latest company to say it will pause social media ads after a campaign led by civil rights organizations called for an ad boycott of Facebook, saying it doesn't do enough to stop racist and violent content.Starbucks said Sunday that its actions were not part of the “#StopHateforProfit” campaign, but that it is pausing its social ads while talking with civil rights organizations and its media partners about how to stop hate speech online.The coffee chain's announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer-goods giant behind Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap; Coca-Cola; cellphone company Verizon and outdoors companies like Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and REI; film company Magnolia Pictures; jeans maker Levi's and dozens of smaller companies.

Facebook to label all rule-breaking posts - even President Trump's

OAKLAND, Calif. — Facebook said Friday that it will flag all "newsworthy" posts from politicians that break its rules, including those from President Donald Trump.Separately, Facebook's stock dropped more than 8%, erasing roughly $50 billion from its market valuation, after the European company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry's and Dove announced it would boycott Facebook ads through the end of the year over the amount of hate speech and divisive rhetoric on its platform.

Verizon joins ad boycott of Facebook over hateful content

SAN FRANCISCO — Verizon is joining an escalating movement to siphon advertising away from Facebook in an effort to pressure the company into doing more to prevent racist and violent information from being shared on its social networking service.The decision announced Thursday by one of the world's biggest telecommunications companies is part of an boycott organized by civil rights and other advocacy groups under the rallying cry of “#StopHateforProfit." The protest, spurred by last month's killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, is supposed to last through July.“We have strict content policies in place and have zero-tolerance when they are breached, we take action," New York-based Verizon said in a statement. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable."Verizon noted that it has previously stopped advertising at other popular online destinations, such as Google's YouTube video service, when it has felt its promotions might appear alongside content inconsistent with the company's values.In its own statement, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said the company respected Verizon's decision and remains committed to purging hateful content from its services.“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good," said Everson, vice president of Facebook's global business group.Other advertisers who have pledged to stay off Facebook and other company services such as Instagram include three major outdoor gear companies, Patagonia, The North Face and REI.Common Sense, one of the boycott organizers, said other companies who have agree to “pause” their Facebook advertising include retailer Eddie Bauer, web browser maker Mozilla and and a movie studio, Magnolia Pictures.The boycott, in theory, could pinch Facebook's profits since the company makes most of its money from ads targeted at the interests that more than 2 billion people share on its various services.

Facebook removes Trump campaign ads for violating 'organized hate' policy

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook on Thursday said it removed ads run by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign featuring an upside-down red triangle similar to one used by Nazis to mark political prisoners for violating its policy on organized hate.The ads called on supporters "to sign a petition and "stand with your President and his decision to declare ANTIFA a Terrorist Organization.“ They were placed on Facebook pages for President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the official “Team Trump” page.“Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem,” the ad reads. “They are DESTROYING our cities and rioting - it’s absolute madness.”Similar to the triangle featured in the ads, an inverted red triangle was once used to designate political prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.On Thursday, Facebook confirmed the platform had removed the ads for the Nazi connection.“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” a company spokesman said. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”

Facebook removes nearly 200 accounts tied to hate groups

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook has removed nearly 200 social media accounts linked to white supremacy groups that planned to encourage members to attend protests over police killings of black people — in some cases with weapons, company officials said Friday.The accounts on Facebook and Instagram were tied to the Proud Boys and the American Guard, two hate groups already banned on the platforms.

Facebook to allow staff to continue working from home until 2021

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook will let its employees do their jobs remotely through the end of the year, a company spokeswoman said.The spokeswoman said Facebook does not expect to open many of its offices until at least July, but those who can work from home will be allowed to do so until the end of 2020.Facebook employs nearly 50,000 people and has offices in California, New York and Washington state.

How to update new Facebook privacy settings

Facebook tracks us even when we’re not on Facebook.Through relationships with hundreds of thousands of apps, websites, and other services, the company receives a constant stream of information about what most of us do online and even where we go in the real world.

BBB scam alert: Don't let boredom fool you into thinking that's your friend on Facebook

MILWAUKEE -- The BBB is warning social media users that scammers are taking advantage of social networking sites, earning victims’ trust by pretending to be someone they already know and send out a message or two with a great new cure for COVID-19, a fundraising request or perhaps a discount on the most sought after items such as toilet paper, face masks and sanitizers.How the Scam WorksWhile scrolling through Facebook, a message pops up in Facebook Messenger.

Facebook to label national origin of some political posts

OAKLAND, Calif. — Facebook said it will label some election-related posts with their geographic origin in an attempt to curb political misinformation by foreign-based pages that mimic legitimate groups and political parties.The new policy will apply to popular election-related pages, and will stamp every post they make on Facebook and Instagram with its origin.

Australia to make Google and Facebook pay for news content

CANBERRA, Australia — Global digital platforms Google and Facebook will be forced to pay for news content in Australia, the government said Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic causes a collapse in advertising revenue.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would release in late July draft rules for the platforms to pay fair compensation for the journalistic content siphoned from news media.Frydenberg said he believed that Australia could succeed where other countries, including France and Spain, had failed in making Google and Facebook pay.“We won’t bow to their threats,” Frydenberg told reporters. “We understand the challenge that we face.

Facebook to warn users who 'liked' coronavirus hoaxes

NEW YORK — Have you liked or commented on a Facebook post about the COVID-19 pandemic that turned out to be a hoax?The social media company said Thursday it is now going to let users know if they liked, reacted or commented on posts with harmful misinformation about the virus that moderators later removed.

Facebook ‘bug’ sends some users notification that legitimate news content they shared is spam

MILWAUKEE — On Tuesday night, March 17, the Facebook VP of Integrity took to Twitter, where hundreds of media outlets were sharing frustrations that their legitimate news content was being flagged as spam by the social media platform.Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, tweeted that the issue is a bug with their anti-spam system, and that the issue should be resolved soon and all posts would be restored.

Unique Illinois privacy law leads to $550M Facebook settlement

CHICAGO — Adam Pezen, Carlo Licata and Nimesh Patel are among millions of people who have been tagged in Facebook photos at some point in the past decade, sometimes at the suggestion of an automated tagging feature powered by facial recognition technology.It was their Illinois addresses, though, that put the trio's names atop a lawsuit that Facebook recently agreed to settle for $550 million, which could lead to payouts of a couple hundred dollars to several million Illinois users of the social networking site.The lawsuit — one of more than 400 filed against tech companies big and small in the past five years, by one law firm's count — alleges that Facebook broke Illinois' strict biometric privacy law that allows people to sue companies that fail to get consent before harvesting consumers' data, including through facial and fingerprint scanning.

Twitter, Pinterest crack down on voter misinformation

NEW YORK -- Twitter and Pinterest are taking new steps to root out voting misinformation designed to suppress participation in the November elections.Twitter unveiled a new tool Wednesday that will make it easier for users in the U.S. to report tweets containing misleading information about registering to vote or casting a ballot.